Galaxy Pool features a blend of familiar gameplay and addictive challenge. In a nutshell it’s a kind of space physics game where you must direct a small space craft in the direction of a planet. You will need to utilise strategy, guile, good timing and a liberal dose of good luck to traverse the various obstacle in the way and levels only get more challenging as you progress.

If you’re fond of games like Angry Birds and Cut the Rope (and let’s be honest, enough people are), this might well be your next addiction!

Entering the Atmosphere

To successfully navigate your cute space ship to the awaiting planet, you must release it at just the right moment, factoring the movement of various obstacles before you. There are most often a series of fixed paddles which you can adjust the angle of in order to create the perfectly aimed ‘shot’. Like attempting an elaborate shot in pool you’ll need to get just the right angles to pull it off. Unlike pool, however, there are no side cushions in space: get it right or you’ll zoom off into the void!

Game controls are a thankfully simple affair that seem natural and intuitive. At the bottom right of the screen you have a ‘Go’ button, which releases the spherical space ship. In later levels you can slide your finger away from this button to increase velocity. A smart green ring will appear which lets you gauge how much power to give your launch.

Collect 3 stars on your way to the planet, controls are at the bottom

Collect 3 stars on your way to the planet, controls are at the bottom

Then to the left you have two additional buttons: one for clockwise, one for anti-clockwise. These control the galactic paddles that you can bounce your spaceship off. There are sometimes several of these and they can be adjusted by selecting the one your want. Once selected, the paddle will turn yellow and you can turn it either way by pressing the appropriate button. There are also buttons to reset the level and to bring up a pause menu.

Paddles become yellow when they are selected for rotation

Paddles become yellow when they are selected for rotation

Essentially then, Galaxy Pool plays like a cross between Cut the Rope and a pinball game. You have a piece, a destination, the laws of physics (although, being in space, not gravity obviously!) and an assemble of obstacles to traverse. You get as many goes as you like but the craft needs to ‘land’ in order to move to the next level. Speaking of levels, there 50 of the fiendish blighters, each trickier than the one before.

Crowded Galaxy

Like the uber-popular physics games we know and love (or in some cases know and hate), each game level presents you with three stars to collect along your way. This is where strategy and an even keener sense of good timing are critical. You need so many stars to unlock the later world, so progressing through levels by just landing isn’t going to cut it.

Fifty levels in total over two worlds

Fifty levels in total over two worlds

It’s this ‘collecting’ feature which reminds me most of the burgeoning weight of similar games available in the Google Play Store. Angry Birds is clearly one such title, with a set number of piggies to squish.

Perhaps the game that most resembles Galaxy Pool is Cut the Rope. In both games you have to release your object at the right time and factor in the obstacles in each level. There are things which help you and things which will hinder your progress. It’s that intoxicating puzzle element which makes games like this so addictive and ideal for the touchscreen market.

Another similar game is Blast Monkeys. Here you have to send a bouncy monkey in the direction of a rainbow circle collecting bananas (naturally) as you go. This genre also delves into more 3D environments with games like A Monster Ate My Homework and Apparatus, so it’s a game type that has continued to prove itself popular time and time again.

I should mention that if any of these are new to you, you should definitely give them a go, especially if you like Galaxy Pool.

Gravitational ‘Pull’

So while Galaxy Pool is certainly a refreshing twist on the genre, it’s a area of the gaming market that is engorged with already popular titles. Cut the Rope, and its sequel, Cut the Rope: Experiments, are arguably among the most popular of their kind. Something else these titles share – and here Galaxy Pool is no different – is addictiveness. These are the games that keep people up at night. They always have a one-more-go factor, masses of levels, a high level of interaction and perfectly executed learning curves that do enough to draw you in before they get too tricky. Galaxy Pool has all of these and the game is as brilliantly captivating as it is fun.

Main menu

Main menu

It’s a Beautiful View

Galaxy Pool features some really nice graphics. The game is well animated: quite cartoony but with plenty of neat effects and colours. The shining stars and asteroid clusters (which form barriers to bounce off) look great against the dark blue backdrop. These are in no way the very best graphics we have ever seen – certainly I think within this genre Cut the Rope’s visuals are that little bit slicker – but those here work well and look good.

The music is excellent. There seem to be a few tracks of spacey beats, astral soundscapes and galactic effects. Obviously this works perfectly with the theme of the game and complements play perfectly.

Levels get trickier as you progress

Levels get trickier as you progress

No One Can Hear You Scream…

The game isn’t perfect, though. With Angry Birds, you have a variety of birds to learn how to use effectively and lots of different worlds to complete. Cut the Rope is colourful and fiendish and each level seems very different from the last. From my experience with this game, as addictive as it is, it lacks a little diversity. After a while levels seem very familiar and gameplay can feel a little repetitive.

While this doesn’t make Galaxy Pool any less addictive and challenging than any other game, it perhaps isn’t quite as good in comparison. Still, Galaxy Pool is new, fresh out of beta, so there may well be new ideas in the future.

Bounce off asteroid clusters, tweak the paddle angles and avoid black holes!

Bounce off asteroid clusters, tweak the paddle angles and avoid black holes!

Final Frontier

Galaxy Pool is loads of fun, extremely addictive, engrossing and a fiendishly challenging game. It rivals the likes of Cut the Rope, Angry Birds and Blast Monkeys with its multi-level, collect-three-items physics-based gameplay. Automatically familiar and easy to play; a nightmare to put down and complete. It’s perhaps not the best of its kind, but it’s a fine addition to the genre and something puzzle fans should definitely try.


Summary

Galaxy Pool is an addictive and challenging physics-based puzzle game in the same mould as Cut the Rope and Angry Birds. Space age action over fifty levels is lots of fun and destined to be loved by puzzle fans of all ages.

8
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